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Poster: Purple Gel Date: Apr 27, 2008 6:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

My wife, who kind of likes the Grateful Dead as a band with a bunch of good tunes, but does not really "get it", asked me recently why I always seem to listen to them when I'm working on my computer, reading, or any other activity that requires focus. I had never really tried to analyze my listening habits, but realized that there are two main ways I experience the Grateful Dead.

The first, like most of us here, is to really listen and lose myself in the catchy tunes, the band interplay, the uniqueness of what they did etc.

The second, and, to me at least, more intriguing way I experience the band is when I am in a position where I need to focus on and complete a task at hand.

Throughout my life I have struggled with an inablility to focus and follow through on tasks that I have set out to do. In the 60's and 70's when I grew up, I was labeled as Hyperactive and Lazy. These days, I suppose I would be diagnosed as having some sort of attention deficit disorder and may have even been medicated in some way from early childhood (I am thankful that I grew up in a less "enlightened" age, as I can only imagine what being dependant on drugs at such a young age would have done to me). Throughout my later teenage years and young adulthood I self medicated in a variety of ways including legal and illegal substances that only served to numb my mind and spirit and really did not solve the underlying symptom, in fact I was, if anything, even more spaced out.

These days, when I am working, reading, or attempting any other task that requires my full attention, I typically will have some Live Dead playing at a fairly high volume. Usually it is some long uninterupted 2nd set jam. This drives my wife nuts, she can't see how I can get anything done this way. As couples tend to do we were having an in-depth discussion about this when it came to me what I was actually doing.

I am literally (to quote Lennon/McCartney), "Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Comes In And Stops my Mind From Wandering, Where It Will Go" . In this case, however, the "Hole" is where my mind usually does go to wander and I fill it with the Grateful Dead. Interestingly, this seems only to work with the Grateful Dead. Listening to Phil & Friends or Rat Dog does not seem to work near as well. I think that perhaps Jerry's guitar licks somehow have a relaxing, almost hypnotic effect on me. Then again, the Garcia Band does not work as well for this purpose either...go figure.

I am so familiar with what the band does, that I am actually self medicating myself by occupying the part of my subconcious that tends to stray and distract me. Even if I am listening to a jam that I have not heard, I am so comfortable with the music and its intricacies that it actually recedes into the background, and I can work for hours on end, stay focused and not realize how much time has passed. I find that I can't even recall hearing many of the songs that have played over the time period.

I recently created a couple of song lists on my Itunes that really work well for me. One is simply every Dark Star I have (at last count 47), another is every Playin In The Band and one with various Space Jams. I then play them in shuffle mode. It is amazing how well this works for me, a minute or so of singing with anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of music between each verse.

I hope you folks won't think I am too self indulgent here, and was wondering if anyone else "uses" the music on this site in a similar way?

This post was modified by Purple Gel on 2008-04-28 01:18:38

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Poster: lastcall Date: Apr 27, 2008 5:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

That's what music is all about. Everything you describe has been human behavior since music existed. Happy to hear you "got it". Never have put any weight into wasting time over trying to find the best note played, etc. Just enjoy it. All due respect intended.

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Poster: Uncle Kryss Date: Apr 27, 2008 6:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

Couldn't of said it better, even with Tito's Lips

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Poster: Darkstarz117 Date: Apr 27, 2008 9:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

I can relate to making a drums>space and dark star playlist. I haven't done the Playin list yet though. Thanks for the idea. Work has been a lot more enjoyable with a few (70+) dark stars.

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Poster: Zaorish Date: Apr 28, 2008 12:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

Wow, great post. Thanks for being brave enough to share some personal thoughts. I'd have to agree with you Gel.
the logn uniunterrupted jams are best for me too. Usually the jazzier, quieter ones are best for me (73/74 dark stars, playing in the bands). Otherwise, I can't focus if i'm listening to a new show but if it's one I know well, it's great.

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Poster: ganges Date: Apr 28, 2008 12:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

This IS a great post and very nice and interesting read - I have to say I'm more like WT, listening when doing mindless stuff or riding the bike or in the car, but I might try other things...thanks everybody for your thoughts.

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Poster: RiverRat1492 Date: Apr 28, 2008 3:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

Hey great posts here. I too almost always have some GD playing whether its working on the house or working on some project in the shop. If someone else is there working with me, or just watching, er I mean "helping", it drives them crazy, but I wouldn't have it any other way. To the uneducated, its just the Dead, whether its from Avalon Ballroom 1969 or 1991 with Branford. Also, I really like lining up a whole show in a multi disc changer and just letting it go for the entire thing, uninterrupted, its just the best.

Also something I'll throw out there. No matter how bad of a day I've had, if its work or personal, I pop in the DVD from closing of Winterland and hit up Sug.Mag. I don't know what it is, if its the tune, seeing the band all smiles, plus the whole New Years party deal or what. Always something to lift ones spirits.Anyone else do something like that?

There have also been other stuff mentioned here that I agree with, like the 2/26 Swing show and there aren't many bad S-F that are bad huh?

Glad I'm not the only one who has other uses from a little GD.

I don't get a chance to get on here much, but I always enjoy this stuff.

Keep it crankin'
Rat

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 28, 2008 3:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

Weren't they though? The posts...really enjoyed this thread.

Good on you, PG; nice to see everyone's input on such a "personal space" issue...

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Poster: Mandojammer Date: Apr 28, 2008 8:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

I think you have hit on what makes the Dead the unique phenomenon that they are. People "use" them in so many different ways - I think it's cool to read how other folks roll the Dead into their lives. I am a fairly new marathoner and was getting my ass kicked by "The Wall" at about mile 18-22. I tried everything, Gu gel, different energy drinks, different pacing, etc., but the Wall always hit and hit hard. I run with an iPod and have several marathon and half-marathon playlists - all of which have various Dead tunes. Big Railroad Blues is an awesome kick tune, Franklin's Tower from 2/26/77 (Swing Auditorium) is my pace tune to get me into an 8:45-9:00 min/mile pace and I always kick off with this one to get a race going well. Which brings us to the Wall - none of my previous tricks worked. So I dropped the Scarlet-Fire from Barton Hall in and I was stunned. 25+ minutes of IMO some of the smoothest jammin' the boys ever did. Whatever - they did an ass ton of great jamming, but for whatever reason this version of Scarlet-Fire gets me three miles down the road and I honestly can't really remember any race where I felt the wall coming on, started listening to Scarlet-Fire and just blew through the wall. Last November I was running the Outer Banks Marathon in NC and felt the wall coming on at about mile 20.5. I jumped my playlist to S/F, put my head down, sucked it up and pressed on. By the time the last strains had died away and the boys were noodling the opening notes of Estimated I looked up and passed a woman on the side of the road holding up a sign that said "2.3 miles to go". The rest was easy.

And that's one way I use the Dead. Purple Gel - thanks for the post, not at all self-indulgent. Peace my friend.

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Poster: Zaorish Date: Apr 28, 2008 12:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

Wow man, that's exactly what I do. Great H>S>F's (PARTICULARLY) 2-26-77 really help me run. (9-24-76 is great too!) Scarlet>Fires are great too, especially the fast ones like 12-31-77 and 2-05-78.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Apr 28, 2008 7:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

Great read...

Have to admit, it's not me. I do not listen to the boys at work, nor at home when focused on a mental activity. I do it when relaxing or undertaking a physical activity (making something with my hands, etc.). These days I prefer to do it alone, with a beer (anti-social, isn't it?) when no one but the dogs are around, and I can crank it up and do nothing but light work (mindless) things...

Probably just associated with my age.

I do love your imagery.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Apr 27, 2008 5:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: I'm Fixing A Hole...Or... Grateful Dead As Therapy And Self Medication.

On a daily basis. I stream at work and it does precisely the same thing for me. If it gets too intense, I may have to turn it down or even turn off, but a lot of the time it is this nice aural comforter that allows me to focus on what I'm doing (not all the time, but at various points almost every day).